Monday, October 15, 2012

Lou St. John's Comments to the New Bedford School Committee Regarding Innovation Schools

Mr. Mayor, Members of the School Committee:

My name is Lou St. John; I am the president of the New Bedford Educators Association.

During contract negotiations, NBEA asked you, via the Superintendent and Attorney Arthur Caron, to reduce class sizes for all of our students. We asked you to hire more art, music and physical education teachers so that our students could benefit from these services every single week instead of every other week. We also asked you to provide individual planning time for elementary teachers every single day. We were told that the district could not afford what it would cost to provide these services and, therefore, our requests were denied.

Today you received a letter signed by three teachers: Jennifer Clune, Jennifer Fernandes and Nancy Davis. These are the three people who are proposing an Innovation School at Gomes School. In this letter, these women addressed seven points. The point that I’d like to address tonight is point #5. “An Innovation School does not take resources or monies from other students or schools. Its budget is based on the per pupil amount allotted to every student in the district. The final plan for the Renaissance Community School for the Arts is required by the District to have a ‘cost neutral’ budget for approval.”

I have read their prospectus and this is what the Gomes Innovation School proponents are asking for:

1.    Classes of 15 students
2.    4x as much art and music per month than students have now.
3.    2x as much physical education per month than students have now.
4.    Paraprofessional assistance in each Kindergarten Class.
5.    After school programs from Monday – Thursday from 3:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m.
6.    A full-time social worker.
7.    23 hours of monthly individual and common planning time. According to the prospectus, teachers currently have only 9.5 hours of planning.

Here is my point. If reducing class size for the students in this school and adding all these extra services for the students is cost neutral, then why aren't you providing all of these extra services to all of our students and to all of our teachers in all of our schools?

Lastly, Why did you tell us in negotiations that you could not afford our requests for more services for our kids and teachers but now you are willing to give the Innovation Schools all that they are requesting?

Thank you

No comments: